E:Ne Raw Food and Sake Bar
Address: 737 Pandora Ave, Victoria, BC
Phone: (778) 433-0363
ES: When it comes to alcoholic beverages, I tend to appreciate sake more than beer. When I heard about this operation opening up in Victoria, BC, my taste buds were titillated. The first thing on my mind was if they carried any of those fruity brews that I see listed in menus whenever I’m in Vancouver dining establishments than anywhere else. Long story short, not all operations are interested in carrying these variations.
As I learned at a sake tasting event a week later, master brewers consider the only good sake is untainted sake. The authentic blends do not include additives. I’m open for experimentation though, including raw food.
2828 E Hastings St #107
Hours: 11:30 a.m to 9:00pm
Phone: (604) 258-7500
I think the closest I will ever get to eating Fugu, the forbidden fish, is at Blowfish Sushi in Vancouver, BC. I was there last month to partake in Fan Expo Vancouver, and to cap my crazy fun-filled weekend, I had to hit the Fright Nights at the PNE.
I was supposed to meet friends there, but when the Drunk in a Graveyard team arrived into town late, my little voice said, it isn’t going to happen. Instead of feeling down, I said screw it and just enjoy this fair myself and met the devil! If I could sample that said fish that is this diner’s namesake, and let my fates go what may and perhaps my body would be found here at this park, adding to the haunted attraction.
Everything I wish Monster Entertainment’s Fear on the Pier back home could do to make Ogden Point a destination for Halloween was done at the PNE. From actors around the park to heavy use of fog machines made for a cool stroll. The creepy clowns got close, and I loved it!
As for the food, the idea of deep-fried avocado is not one I often see and was not aware of the online raves about this place. I knew I needed a snack before taking on carnival fun. The waitress was friendly and patient as I looked over the menu. The ambiance if more of a modern Tokyo type place than traditional.
1218 Wharf St,
Phone: (250) 590-7370
When the waitresses at Shima admit Victoria, BC has way too many Japanese restaurants, I have to wonder when some will close up shop out of frustration to get a regular clientele or which operation stands out as the best? I’m sure there’s a list out there which locals has voted on as the best. I can’t say I completely agree either.
This operation has been around since 2010. While I have walked by on many an occasion, the desire to try this place out was limited. The menus on display showed prices were above average and they did not offer anything unique when compared to other operations.
For some reason, James Shaw tagged along. As we both settled in a cozy corner, we both eyed the same item on the menu: a clam miso soup. I had to go for my traditional staples, a sunomono salad (perhaps one of the best I’ve had since the chef did not skimp on the octopus) and a deluxe platter of nigiri. To sum up my buddy’s thoughts on the said soup: you get your money’s worth ($6). Not only are the servers very generous in the serving of this mollusk, but also the aroma had feeling I ordered the wrong starter.
1420 Quadra St #101
Phone: (250) 381-6141
I can’t say Futaba is a favourite restaurant of mine. They did a bit of change in the menu offerings over the years and the overall result is not convincing me by much. The quality is not quite there anymore as another mutual friend pointed out (see below image) and while the meal I had was certainly tastier on the night I visited here with James Shaw, the improvements were minuscule.
These days, this guy still has an opinion about the places we dine together and he always has to express (to me) what he thinks about the place. I tell him to speak to someone else or resume being a bloke. He stupidly looks at me and I always roll my eyes. I really have no clue why I still hang out with him since he can’t separate from when we are hanging out together as pals to when to shut up if we happen to hit an eatery. He knows I can use his words to put into the next food review. He can’t stop me. In that regard, he’s still continuing to be part of this food-zine (or should I say scene?)
The Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society (VNCS) is active year-round, and in October, their annual fair from last weekend brings the community together — and the curious to learn about the elements of what makes traditional Japan cool. Now in its 18th year, their success lies in how they enrich and entertain the public who do not know much about the Land of the Rising Sun.
For spoiled folks like me who desire more of an academic edge, I’m craving the experience from the University of Victoria’s Pacific and Asian Studies CAPI Conference on Japanese Popular Culture. Two events were held on campus back in the late 90’s and they set the bar. Plus, I visited Japan and experienced the life on the streets that some festivals from afar have no plans to replicate. To sample the unique food from stalls at either a theme park like Fuji-Q Highland Park or at a seasonal event requires travelling back there.
VNCS’ version is quaint. It is worth going to at least once. I’ve been to this event years ago and saw no reason to come back in any regular basis. After James Shaw told me about 2016’s event perhaps offering Ikayaki (squid on a stick), I took a chance at returning. Was he wrong about what he heard? Most likely. This mouth-watering reason was the only reason I trekked out to the Municipality of Esquimalt.
Broadmead Village Shopping Centre
Unit 425 – 777 Royal Oak Drive
Phone: (778) 265-3328
Located outside of downtown, Fūdo Japanese Restaurant is where Shingo Sana, the former head sushi chef from Omakase, continues his passion for creating fantastic Japanese dishes. The ambience at this bistro is modern than traditional, and the time spent within is quite pleasant. The service was great. I got a full decanter of tea to keep me very satisfied. The prices here are a little bit more than those in town, but for the tastes I’ve found, it’s worth every extra penny — especially with the fusion roll I tried.
I do not visit this part of the suburbs much, mostly because the mall does not offer the type of shopping I’m usually after (nerd type merchandise), but if sushi connoisseurs love what this culinary master can do, making the trip to the edge of town is worth it. Timing and knowing when he has speciality rolls (like the Bananacado or Lemon Drop which the March/April issue of EAT magazine mentioned) on the menu requires keeping an eye on their Facebook page (or going omakase here) if anyone is yearning for a specific taste.